Humans are naturally social creatures, drawn to a feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals. Our communities exist in many forms; neighborhoods, families, schools, clubs, and workplaces. Many of our social communities have produced natural leaders, a person or group who ‘manages’ community members and activities. The community manager in a corporate setting is often responsible for tasks such as customer outreach and engagement, posting to discussion forums, and engaging industry thought leaders through social media channels.
According to industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang’s research, ‘The Four Tenets of the Community Manager’ are:
- A Community Advocate
- Brand Evangelist
- Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes Editorial
- Gathers Community Input for Future Product and Services
Generally, community management is seen as a customer-facing role, a liaison between the customer community and the company. However, community managers have alot to offer from an internal perspective too. It has long been common knowledge that employees who feel personally invested in the success of the company produce a better, happier workplace. In this environment, internal community managers can play an instrumental role in shaping their company to be the kind of place where people want to work. Fostering a sense of community and collaboration within a company improves morale and who knows, could be the catalyst for the next Big Idea.
Below are my thoughts on how the description of the community manager as it relates to a customer-facing role can achieve similar benefits within the company by focusing the same principles:
- A Community Advocate – Internal community managers play an important role in engaging employees on internal discussion forums and initiating dialogue on a host of relevant topics. By monitoring employee responses across different departments, community managers can gain valuable feedback on employees’ concerns, questions, achievements, and ideas.
- Brand Evangelist – Companies today understand the importance of encouraging their employees to ‘internalize’ their brand. When employees feel they truly understand and believe in the company’s mission, morale and productivity significantly improves. Community advocates play a key role in promoting brand messaging at an internal level, and making sure employees understand how their role affects the company as a whole.
- Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes Editorial – Excellent communication skills are as important in this role as in any customer-facing role. When an employee community is active and professionally managed, it goes a long way toward making employees feel invested in the company’s success.
- Gathers Community Input for Future Product and Services – Collaboration fuels innovation. Community managers are the catalysts which facilitate communications across departments and make the important connections between stakeholders within in the company. For example, a member of your IT team might have a brilliant idea to improve the security of your company’s software product. As a community manager, you can help him share his idea by connecting him with the right people on the development side.